Laurie Taylor Column

November 25, 2005

How's it going?

Couldn't be better. More and more teaching. More and more administration. And the research assessment exercise on the horizon. Happy days are here again.

There's no need to be quite so cynical. We might all be happier than you think.

How's that?

Haven't you read the new report? Workforce Performance Indicators 2005 - Higher Education Sector.

What does it say?

It says that university staff, including lecturers and researchers at all grades, are overwhelmingly satisfied with their pay, work-life balance and career development.

Really?

Absolutely. Of course, it's a tremendous feather in the cap for university human resources managers. They must be doing a great job.

I suppose so. Who compiled the report?

Seventy university human resources managers.

They based it on up-to-date staff surveys?

Not really. You see, the same report shows that nearly half of all university resource managers haven't carried out any surveys of staff satisfaction for the past two years.

In fact, nearly one in five of all university human resource managers has never carried out any survey at all of staff views and attitudes. And only one in four of those who has conducted a survey changed anything in response to the results.

So, what you're telling me is that a group of people with a vested interest in university staff being overwhelmingly satisfied with their lot have decided, without any real objective evidence, that on the whole, all things considered, university staff are overwhelmingly satisfied with their lot.

I've warned you before about that cynicism.

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